Friday, September 06, 2002

River of Blood, by Kevin Ryan

Killing Blow, by Kevin Ryan

I'm sure I've talked about (or at least thought about) the fractal nature of some "franchise fiction", these written-for-hire books set in licensed worlds like Star Wars and Star Trek. They can be PAINFUL, cardboard rearrangements of the old standby favorites, with a few disposable characters arriving and vanishing.

Ryan doesn' t to that - instead he shows how fractal the story line can be, that is, how many twists and turns you can fit into a heretofore finite space of time. Using the "known" facts, i.e. episodes from the original series, in these three books (these were volumes 2 and 3) he creates a great story. A principled, but mislead Klingon, masquerading as human, slowly discovers the truth about humans... and the lies he is acting on. Really a fun story, and well done (even if a little awkwardly edited by Pocket books).

The Wailing Wind, by Tony Hillerman

After disappointing books, Hillerman is back to a very good tale about murder and mystery. And romance, too.... slow, slow slloooooow romance. But maybe a glimmer of hope for poor Jim Chee.

Sunday, September 01, 2002

Shadow Puppets, by Orson Scott Card

Ender's not forgotten, just gone... What he's replaced with in this new saga is outstanding. Here we have the drama of families -something that the more individualistic stories in the Shadow saga never gave us. Bean beginning a family, Peter discovering what his family really was all along.

Card has collaborated in an interesting way - using the Philotic Web (the website, not Ansible technology) which has built a merged Ender/Bean timeline. And he's posted early chapters on the web, soliciting feedback. Suffice to say, he did a great job. How many more years till the next chapter?